In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in May, businesses and organizations jumped at the chance to make a statement on where they stand in relation to racial equity and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. As an organization, we knew we had things to say, as well. But, the Board of Directors didn’t want to say something and then not be able to follow through.
So we took a different track. We chose to first work from within to begin making strides toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization where all belong. It’s time to share with you what we’ve started and where we see the organization going next. Please know this isn’t to tout our efforts, but to instead raise awareness of our efforts and welcome more voices into the conversation.
Training and Consulting
We’ve been working with a diversity consultant to obtain training on race, anti-bias and other issues. Individual board members have also been doing the self-work by educating themselves through books like White Fragility and Me & White Supremacy and participating in small group discussions.
We know we must take a hard look at where we’ve come from, what blinders we have on and what we can do as board members to lay the right foundation for a safe space for our whole community. To make lasting change, we must start inside ourselves.
Policies and Procedures
We know discussions aren’t enough and that our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) must begin within the very foundations of this organization. As such, we’ll be reworking our bylaws and related policies and procedures to incorporate this commitment. We won’t make these updates in a vacuum, but will instead continue to work with consultants to ensure the predominantly white lens that we currently have doesn’t get in the way of our goal: to weave DEIB into all aspects of our organization.
Speakers and Programming
In past years, MnSearch has received feedback after our annual Summit about the lack of diversity amongst our speakers. We recognize this issue and have been working steadily to diversify our speakers for the Summit and our monthly marquee events. This is something we will continue to be active on as we consider speakers moving forward.
We’ll also look to incorporate programming that involves diversity and equity moving forward to ensure our broader community is involved in the discussions that will help shape the future of the digital marketing landscape here in Minnesota.
Memberships and Mentorships
We’re working closely with a new initiative that is aimed at paid training for Black interns in the world of digital while providing free digital marketing services to Black-owned businesses. We know the MnSearch community has the resources and knowledge to provide the support needed to get this program up and running. We’ll provide more information once we make further progress.
New Diversity Director Position Open
We realize this is just the beginning. There’s more work to do within ourselves and our community to ensure Black, Indigenous and People of Color feel supported and welcome. There’s more work to do to lift up women and create spaces where LGBTQIA+ individuals feel they belong.
To that end, we’re adding a new Diversity Director position to the Board of Directors. It’s important to note that it will not be this director’s job to do all the things to make MnSearch more diverse, equitable and inclusive. Instead, this director will help us keep DEIB at the center of all we do.
We believe these things to be true: Black lives matter and diversity creates stronger communities. We’ll base the work we do moving forward on these beliefs. And we hope you’ll join us, because we are better together.
President, MnSearch Board of Directors